At the base of Ollantaytambo fortress is the small village of the same name built upon the foundation of the ancient Inca homes (note the large rocks at the base of the homes). We visited this small community on my 60th birthday (July 5) as part of our family's epic trip through Peru to reach Machu Pichu. The village appears much as it may have been in ages past. The Incan aqueducts continue to serve the pueblo as they run down each of the streets. Andy with his puppets enchanted curious village children and their parents much like the Pied Piper.
Lucho's work is a fusion of Incan design with that of many other indigenous pottery, especially that of New Mexico's Pueblo where he resided for 20 years. He returned to his native Peru after September 11, 2001 with a goal to elevate Peruvian ceramics to achieve the high artistic quality of his ancestors as well as reignite an interest in its history. The designs etched in his pieces come directly from old shards of pottery that he showed me from his collection.
Unfortunately the pieces he had available were rather large (and costly), designed for impact at the show. I did pause long and hard though considering how I might arrange to have one come home with me... and still have it remain in one piece. After seeing some shards saved by Lucho for sentimental purposes that were created by a customs agent who dropped his marvelous work upon inspection, I thought better of the purchase. But I do hope to revisit his work soon and add a piece to my collection.
After his Lima show he will present in Mexico. Hopefully he may even consider a show in Chile.
We continued to weave our way up and down the narrow cobbled streets popping into one store after another and poking our heads into the beautiful courtyards hidden away by the nondescript walls. It was in one artisan's shop that I was stunned to see what I thought were more of Lucho's ceramics. The shop manager explained these were actually of a student of Lucho's, Eduardo Huaman Aquino. I asked for Eduardo's taller (workshop) and set off on a mission to locate him and more of his pottery.
Passing by hostels and viewing the residents of this village in their daily activities I was directed to Eduardo's taller situated up the hill. As I climbed the street I could hear the haunting lyrics of the Eagles' "Welcome to the Hotel California" emanating from one of the homes. Upon reaching Eduardo's taller/workshop I knew it was my destiny to be there:
I stayed a while enjoying my discovery of this "lovely place, such a nice surprise" watching Eduardo craft another piece while guinea pigs squeaked off tune to the music from his stereo.
I later joined up with Andy, and my travel partners, Kathy Songer and Carol D'Angelo for lunch and a shared piece of Chocolate cake.
Later that afternoon we checked out of our hotel to walk down the road a bit to board the Peru Rail that would take us to the Machu Pichu village of Auga Calientes. On our trip we encountered rain giving the region a misty and mysterious aura. All the while running through my mind were the lyrics that welcomed me to Ollantaytamo: